WORDS Amelia Brown
Who doesn’t love the sound of sleeping inside a trio of wooden owls in Bourdeaux, France – for free?
“Les Geutteurs” (The Watchers) is part of a collaborative project, Les Refuges Periurbains (peri-urban shelters), by two local companies – Zebra3, a contemporary art production company that designed and built the hollow wooden owls, and Bruit du Frigo, an urban development studio with projects that offer alternative ways of imagining and building a living environment.
The design, built atop a boardwalk elevated over a wetlands area, was inspired by the small, ground-dwelling owls that nest in the surrounds. A circular plywood frame is clad in strips of curved wood with shingles cut to look like feathers and large circular windows to represent the owls’ watchful eyes. Ladders within connect the three cabins, which sleeps nine, and form two storeys with circular white beds on the different levels resembling nests.
The collection of unusual off-the-grid buildings, which include a steel-and-wood tree trunk and a cloud on the banks of a river, are spread throughout Bordeaux and are free to rent in order to encourage hiking and exploration of the region and a reconnection with the natural landscape.
Check out the hashtag #refugesperiurbains to see people experiencing the structures. You’re in for a serious dose of wanderlust!